Jordan Sherman was just nine years old when he first tried his hand at canoe paddling, at a US Summer Camp being run by 1972 Olympic bronze medalist, Jamie McEwan.

There must have been something in his style, or maybe it was more his enthusiasm, that impressed the learned team at the camp, because Sherman was invited to join a slalom team. Of course you don’t knock back an invitation from an Olympic medalist, so Sherman was in.

Fast forward to 2023, and 26-year-old Sherman is competing in his first ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup of the season, in Prague. The day hasn’t gone quite the way he planned, and he’ll miss Friday’s K1 semi-final.

But he’s not disappointed. Sherman is playing a long game.

“I’m still young, I’ve still got time in the sport, I’m really just here because I want the experience and to take every race that I can,” Sherman said.

“LA is definitely the focus for me. I think with this US team, we are one of the youngest on the circuit, so I think a lot of us are looking towards the future. To have the Games at home is always exciting and gives us a little bit more motivation to keep pushing.”

To get to LA, Sherman knows he might have to make some life changes.

“I live in the D.C. area and we don’t really have any courses like this. We have a natural river, but it’s a lot smaller,” he said.

“So I’m looking at potential changes for training. We do our winter training camps in France a lot, and potentially looking at our course in Oklahoma that’s gaining traction, and we’ve also got a new course opening up in Montgomery, Alabama, and that’s looking to get a lot of attention.

“So we have a lot of other training sites that aren’t my home space, so I might be looking to change in the future and try out these new courses.”

Sherman is part of an exciting young group of American slalom paddlers who obviously share a strong camaraderie both on and off the water. While every one of them would love to be wearing the Stars and Stripes in Paris next year, the competition is tight.

“What’s nice is we have a very friendly team, we all get along for the most part,” he said.

“Right now we’re all pretty close in rank so we give each other a lot of encouragement, so it’s nice to have that support even though they are my competitors, we still support each other no matter what.”

Canoe Slalom